Also Known As
Black Millet, Pearl Millet
Commonly known as pearl millet, bajra is one of the most widely grown varieties of millet. It is grown in bulk in Africa and India. It has been a staple diet for Indians since pre-historic times. Rajasthan is the largest producer of bajra in India.
These tiny brown grains have a nutty and bitter aftersweet taste.
How to select
• Ensure that the grains are free from dirt, stones and other forms of adulteraton.
• The grains should be small, brownish and resemble tiny pearls.
• It is commonly consumed as leavened or unleavened breads, porridge and khichdi.
• When using bajra for khichdi, soak overnight and then pressure cook with green moong dal till soft. Temper spices in ghee and add. This is a traditional Rajasthani food.
• When processed into flour, it is used to prepare bajra rotlis, khakras, bhakri, stuffed parathas, muthias, dhoklas, chaklis, etc.
• In South India, especially in farming communities, bajra is often pressure-cooked like rice, molded into balls when cool, and stored in a jar full of water. These balls can be had the next morning with curds, onions and green chillies as a refreshing and nutritious breakfast.
How to store
• Always store in airtight containers in a cool dry place.
• It is best to use fresh bajra, so purchase in smaller quantities.
12 Health Benefits of Bajra
1. High in Protein: One cup of whole Bajra (160 grams) gives about 18.5 grams of protein. Very good source for Vegetarian.
2. High in Fiber : One cup of whole Bajra gives about 18 grams of fibre. This fibre will keep you fuller for a longer time and avoid you from binge eating.
3. Complete Protein for Vegetarians : Bajra Flour forms a complete protein when combined with legumes like rajma, moong dal, urad dal, toovar dal, chana dal.
4. Gluten Free : Great healthy option for those who are intolerant to Gluten. Bajra, the whole grain is far more healthier to use in Khichdi than making a Khichdi of rice and dal. Try Bajra, Whole Moong and Green Pea Khichadi
5. Good for Diabetics : Being a whole grain, it creates a much lower surge in sugar levels compared to Bajra Flour. Bajra is rich in Magnesium which improves insulin response by lowering insulin resistance. Having very low magnesium will result in the pancreas not secrete enough insulin to control our blood sugar.
6. Relieves Constipation : Bajra being rich in insoluble fibre helps easy digestion and hence relieves constipation. Insoluble Fibre does not dissolve in water and goes through your stomach without being processed helping other foods move through your system and out. Insoluble Fibre keeps you healthier with a better digestive system.
7. Good for Heart : Bajra is rich in Magnesium. 100 grams of Bajra have 137 milligrams of Magnesium which is 50% of your recommend daily allowance (RDA). Magnesium helps maintain nerve function and normal heartbeat.
8. Lowers Cholesterol : Being high in Fibre, Bajra reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the effects of good cholesterol (HDL)
9. Lowers Blood Pressure : Bajra and all Millets are rich in Potassium. Potassium is critical for those with High Blood Pressure as it lessens the impact of sodium. Eating more Potassium Rich Foods will remove more sodium from your body through urine. So if you are suffering from High Blood Pressure and taking medication, then the medicine works by taking out the sodium and potassium from the kidneys. So you need to up your Potassium intake in this case.
10. Alkaline : Bajra is alkaline in nature and combats acidity. Acidity is a form of indigestion in which there is accumulation of acid leading to a burning sensation in the stomach and the digestive tract. The stomach periodically produces acid to aid digestion. It is when we don't eat at regular intervals or are excessively stressed the stomach produces more acids which harms our body.
11. Good for Endurance : Being high in fibre, protein, alkaline, lowering blood pressure means more RBC (red blood cells) to give energy. All these factors enhance performance of endurance athletes like runners, swimmers and bikers. Note that Bajra is a whole grain and they are always more healthier than its powdered form which is Bajra Flour.
Rich : Bajra has many antioxidants which help fight the body against infections.
Glycemic Index of Bajra, Black Millet
Bajra has a Glycemic Index of 71 which is high. Glycemic Index are for foods you eat, ranks carbohydrate-containing foods by how quickly they digest and raise your blood sugar or glucose levels. Foods rank from 0 to 50 are low GI, 51 to 69 are medium and 70 to 100 are high. Foods that are high in GI are not suitable for weight loss and diabetics. Foods like Bajra have a high GI but since its rich in Fibre which results in Bajra being healthy and suitable for a healthy lifestyle as the Glycemic Load reduces.